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TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction)

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TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction)

girl with tmjTMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) TMJ actually has the unwieldy name Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome and is a very common condition among people from all walks of life. It can cause severe headaches, pain in the jaw of varying severity, grinding of the teeth and ringing in the ears. Most TMJ suffers do not know that this condition is the cause of such problems and that effective treatment is available.

TMJ symptoms can be debilitating and can interfere significantly with everyday life. When a dentist works to treat this condition, the general wellbeing of the patient and his or her comfort is the primary consideration. A dentist can test for and diagnose TMJ and then create a treatment plan to put a stop to the underlying causes of the condition.

Reasons To Treat TMJ

In many cases, TMJ suffers have worse symptoms after unexpected or prolonged stress, and the most intense periods of symptoms can cause neck pain, dizziness and other significant symptoms.

Misaligned teeth or a so-called “bad bite” is the most common cause of TMJ, and a dentist can realign teeth without surgery in many cases. This adjustment can stop pounding headaches, jaw pain and more.

Grinding of teeth is a very common symptom of TMJ and most often happens at night. This grinding can eventually wear away tooth structure and cause severe dental problems that require correcting in the future. Eroded jawbones and loose teeth are often caused by untreated TMJ. That’s why it is essential that anyone with TMJ symptoms should see a dentist, get a diagnosis and start on a treatment program.

How Is TMJ Treated?

TMJ can actually be the result of several distinct problems. While bad bite is the most common cause, an injury caused by a blow to the cartilage of the meniscus could also be the cause. The treatment process starts with an examination of the jaw bone, the bite and x-rays as well as a thorough review of the patient medical history so that an accurate diagnosis can be made.

After a definitive diagnosis has been made, relief can come in a number of ways. A molded bite guard can be made to stop nighttime teeth grinding. Also, a bite relationship analysis may be recommended and relaxation advice may be offered that can help to lessen the physical effects of emotional stress. In the most severe cases, a muscle relaxant can be prescribed as a temporary or permanent option.

When alignment issues cause the problem, a good solution is to adjust the shape of teeth to eliminate the bad bite, a process called realignment. This can be very effective for relieving TMJ symptoms and can also make teeth look better as well. The process involves changing how the upper teeth meet the lower teeth. This can require new restoration work and changes to healthy natural teeth also. This realignment procedure is not painful and is something dentists do regularly and with success in most cases. As is the case with any dental procedure, the dentist can answer any questions and discuss other options.

Patients experiencing symptoms of TMJ are strongly encouraged to contact this dental office for an appointment and a TMJ consultation.

To find out about your TMJ treatment options, call (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr. Paige Woods, DDS.